Horror TV: Supernatural (2005 to present)

Dean: Damn cops.

Sam: They were just doing their job.

Dean: No, they were doing our job, only they don’t know it so they suck at it.

Premise:

Hunting down supernatural creatures, and rescuing people terrorised by them, is the Winchester family business.  Brothers Sam and Dean Winchester grew up moving from hunt to hunt with their father John, but eventually Sam goes off to college, leaving Dean and their father to work jobs alone. When John goes missing during a hunt Dean turns to Sam for help. Reluctant to return to the life of a hunter, Sam grudgingly agrees to search for a few days. They can’t find John so Sam returns to college, just in time to see his girlfriend Jessica killed by the same demon that killed their mother. Enraged, Sam quits college and he and Dean take to the road, hunting down their father, Jessica’s killer and anything else nasty that gets in their way.

Main Characters:

Sam Winchester (played by Jared Padalecki): the youngest of the Winchester boys, studying to be a lawyer. Sam is a trained fighter but is also a skilled researcher, who doesn’t relish hunting, but sees it as a means to an end.

Dean Winchester (played by Jensen Ackles): takes his role as a big brother seriously and hates that he can’t protect Sam from everything. He follows his father without question, always putting himself last. Dean is popular with women and comfortable with the subterfuge hunting requires. He is also very, very fond of his 1967 Chevy Impala and drives his brother crazy playing classic rock.

Themes:.

Family, the bonds of brotherhood, and the tensions between family duty and individuality.

The reality inherent in supernatural and urban legends.

Why you should watch it:

Supernatural manages a great mix between monsters of the week and a larger story arc about the Winchester family. The banter between the two very different yet very similar brothers is hilarious, and creates a clever dichotomy between their humour and the day-to-day horror in the life of a hunter. The classic rock soundtrack compliments the action and the brother’s approaches to life.

Weaknesses:

Supernatural can be subjected so some of the same criticisms as horror narratives in general: a tendency to depict women as either victims, villains or a temporary distraction, few characters of racial minority, and a generally cavalier approach to violence.

Ongoing Influence:

Supernatural is still a relatively new show so its long range influence is still to be determined, however it has revived interest in classic rock, which is perhaps unfortunate…

What’s your favourite Supernatural moment? Your favourite Winchester? Let us know!

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2 Responses to “Horror TV: Supernatural (2005 to present)”

  1. I’ve not been keen on it – even though I keep hearing about how good it is at portraying horror. I’m mostly put off these days because of this ongoing Christian story arc they have happening. Not only are the Angels, Demons and God – but the characters also die, go to Hell and come back again.

    Once characters start coming back from the dead, shows have jumped the shark (ie Buffy season 6, Xena season 6, Legend of the seeker season 2).
    The only time I’ve seen it done well without changing the story arc to the bad, is with Babylon 5 – where the writer not only told everyone the character would die a season before it happened, but he had also written what happens after before he was killed off.

  2. Female character in Supernatural = Hot and/or love interest and/or victim and/or traitor and/or dead. Sometimes all of them at once!

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